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Ten years passed


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Published on: Thursday, October 04, 2012

By Brian J. Karem

Ten years is a long time. Consider if you will the difference between 1960 and 1970.

During that decade the Beatles came and went. John F. Kennedy was elected and assassinated. His brother Bobby was gunned down in Los Angeles. Martin Luther King was shot and killed in Memphis. The Vietnam war became a household word and we went from dreaming about landing on the moon to actually doing it.

Hippies, Woodstock, marijuana, civil rights, gay rights, the environmental movement, and much more all began during that ten-year span.

Now, look back at the last ten years.

For us in the Washington D.C. metro area there has been much change. We’ve grown another federal bureaucracy – Homeland Security, we’ve built the I.C.C (The road to nowhere), and the economy has gone straight into the dumper.

On the upside we go at it “Gangnam” style and global warming means I’m not so worried about snow – except this winter of course which is forecasted to be the worst in history. Thank you local weathermen.

Of all the events of the last decade, the one which brings out the most stirring memories is the D.C. sniper shooting.

It began with a series of shootings in one day that scared the living Hell out of everyone around here. No one was safe and no one knew who was targeted. I remember watching people run in “zig-zag” fashion from the gas pump in hopes of fending off shots that never came. People in one local PTA discussed erecting plywood barriers in front of their middle school so the sniper couldn’t see the children entering the building.

Football games were canceled. Outdoor activities were put on hold and people cowered in fear at the mere thought of running to the grocery store.

The Montgomery County Police recently posted on their website a memorial for those fallen during that time and I commend their honor in doing so.

I was no fan of the police department, however, during the fiasco. Or to be more blunt, I was no fan of the chief of police during the fiasco.

Chief Charles Moose headed up the investigation that included officers and volunteers from around the country, including D.C., the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and others.

The command post for the investigation was a building near county police headquarters and some of the area’s best and brightest labored mightily day and night to bring the killers to justice.

Moose had his officers tracking down leads everywhere and mostly pulling over white panel trucks – which he said the shooters were probably using as a basis of operation.

One night after a sniper shooting in Virginia, the Beltway resembled an Orwellian nightmare as traffic came to a grinding halt for hours. Miles of traffic piled up in both directions. People fled their vehicles in an attempt to empty their bladders as police dressed in assault garb weaved in and out of the traffic searching every white panel truck they could find. Overhead the helicopters hovered and shined their lights on anything suspicious including people fleeing the area to relieve their overworked bladders.

It was all for nothing of course as the snipers weren’t using a white panel truck.

Moose ignored the one piece of evidence supplied from one of the very first shootings in the District where an accurate description of the car used by the snipers was seen and given.

But that was the man’s arrogance.

As he led the investigation many questioned his methods, including when he went on national television in front of hundreds of reporters gathered in the rain outside of Montgomery County Police headquarters and said something about a “duck in a noose.”

For many of us around here, the D.C. Sniper episode was one of fear and pain.

Me? I remember incompetence from the top as good men and women died and other good men and women struggled day and night to put an end to the madness. 

I remember an Orwellian nightmare of biblical proportions.

I remember the silliness, the sordidness and the folly of those three weeks.

I remember wishing it would end. But the fear never did.

Reader Comments - 1 Total

captcha e9e754e770024d0fb4c7ef1d9a1e3214

Posted By: Rockville dad On: 10/8/2012

Title: I so agree

Moose's incompetence cost lives, yet he came off as a hero. As a lifelong MoCo resident, I have lost so much faith in our police force. Starting with Moose, but continuing today with the rediculous war on our high school and college age kids for alcohol and pot possesion.




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